Charity volunteers are hoping to take over operations at one of Wales’ most significant military buildings.

Four years after its official opening by The Queen, Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre has applied to Pembrokeshire County Council, current owners of the Royal Dockyard Chapel, for a Community Asset Transfer, which would see the operation of the building pass into the hands of the charity which runs it.

This move is seen as a major step in plans to realise ambitions of the museum becoming a world-class heritage attraction and community facility for Pembroke Dock.

Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust, which operates the Heritage Centre, is a registered charity which collects and interprets the important heritage of the area.

Trust chairman Gareth Mills, said: “The Royal Dockyard Chapel is one of the most important and impressive buildings in the town, an iconic part of its heritage, and is an ideal setting to tell the unique and internationally significant history of this community.

“This is a Grade II* listed building with many original features. Whilst this is admirable, it brings major challenges in ongoing repair and maintenance. As a heritage charity we are one of the few organisations that can access grant funding to ensure the building continues to be preserved as part of the heritage of the town.”

He added: “Local authorities are facing huge pressures on funding local services, and in the current climate, museums, libraries and other services are under severe pressures.

“We respect the Local Authority’s position and now feel the time is right for the trust to take control of the building, easing the financial pressures on the council, and allowing us to tell this town’s unique story, with the high calibre museum and community facility that Pembroke Dock’s important heritage deserves.”

The Heritage Centre has increased its visitor numbers and become a meeting place for many local groups and community organisations. It is also a hub of volunteering in the town, with more than 60 individuals regularly attending to volunteer each week.